The traditional yogic paths of knowledge, works and love choose the leverage of specific aspects of human capabilities to focus the being exclusively on the spiritual quest and achieve the desired result through that concentration. The choice is usually based on the particular bent or development of the individual practitioner. They follow well-developed lines of practice and for the most part, tend to be mutually exclusive, so that those who follow the path of devotion will not concurrently take up the practices of knowledge or the exercise of will in action.
Sri Aurobindo mentions the need to find the highest and most powerful aspects of the human instrument to achieve the spiritual result, and this brings us to a review of the use of the higher mentality, the higher will and the higher capacities of love and devotion that we see in the traditional paths. In the case of the integral Yoga, however, the practitioner does not have the luxury of a single focus; rather, he must take up all the higher capacities. “The concentration of an enlightened thought, will and heart turned in unison towards one vast goal of our knowledge, one luminous and infinite source of our action, one imperishable object of our emotion is the starting-point of the Yoga.”
“There must be a large, many-sided yet single concentration of the thought on the idea, the perception, the vision, the awakening touch, the soul’s realisation of the one Divine. There must be a flaming concentration of the heart on the All and Eternal and, when once we have found him, a deep plunging and immersion in the possession and ecstasy of the All-Beautiful. There must be a strong and immovable concentration of the will on the attainment and fulfilment of all that the Divine is and a free and plastic opening of it to all that he intends to manifest in us. This is the triple way of the Yoga.”
Necessarily, the practitioner of the integral Yoga needs to understand the paths of knowledge, works and love as well as determine how to harmonise their action within himself in a way that brings forth the results integrally on all levels of his unified being.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 2, Self Consecration, pg. 74